The Perak Health Department’s claim that the final post-mortem report in Soosaimanicckam’s case was released to family is baseless
12 September 2018
We refer to our statement regarding the unprofessional conduct and lack of transparency of the Perak Health Department and Hospital Seri Manjung regarding Soosaimanicckam Joseph’s post-mortem report as well as the reply by the director of Perak Health Department, Dr Ding Lay Ming on 8th September.
The Director claims that the post-mortem report has already been given to Soosaimanicckam’s family. Furthermore, she stated that the hospital ‘politely’ rejected Calvin Joseph’s request for legal counsel during the meeting as their SOP does not require the hospital to discuss the post-mortem findings with any lawyers.
We must state here that the Perak Health Department is blatantly attempting to mislead the public when it claimed that the post-mortem report was already released to the family. What was released was only the preliminary post-mortem report, pending lab results. The final and conclusive post-mortem report was never released to the family and is being actively withheld from them by the authorities. This is highly unusual and improper as usually the deceased’s family receives the final post-mortem report. It is the absolute legal right of the family to be given a copy of the report.
With regards to the meeting, the hospital representatives were anything but polite; they were confrontational when we questioned their action to bar us from the meeting, and became even more so when we decided to withdraw ourselves as a consequence of their unreasonable decision. The ‘SOP’ excuse given is vague, and in fact, on the day of the meeting, when asked, the hospital representatives fail to show any such rule to us.
The hospital and the Perak Health Department have failed to grasp the gravity of the situation at hand. The death of Soosaimanicckam is a public interest issue that must be handled transparently. The family deserves to know the truth of the situation. We can only conclude that disallowing us to be present during the meeting is to keep the family in the dark.
We call upon the Health Minister to step into this matter and ensure justice and transparency; the Perak Health Department must release the final and conclusive post-mortem report to the family without any further excuses. The Ministry of Health must also investigate those who are denying the family’s legal right to a copy of it.
Zaid Malek & Mahajoth Singh (Lawyers for Liberty)
Lawyers for the family of the late Soosaimanicckam